Critical Recap: Critical Role C3E63 “A Haunted Past”
Written by Dani on July 5, 2023
Hello! Welcome to Critical Recap! I’m Dani Carr, the Critical Role Lore Keeper. Let’s dive into our recap of Critical Role Campaign 3 Episode 63 A Haunted Past!
EVITHORIR THE TAKER
Orym watches as the smile in the ceiling vanishes before they all hear a voice, claiming the group as intruders in its domain. The voice introduces themself as Evithorir and that Hevestro, Oma-Dua, and the valley belong to them. A being of shadow emerges, their pointed face and elongated teeth like a mask. Prism can sense that this is a fey creature. Evithorir says that Hevestro is within them and that the group smells of potential.
Deni$e tries to intimidate Evithorir as roots close off the exit to the cavern. This creature was freed somehow and now is finally home. Evithorir wants the group’s potential. A fight breaks out, with Evithorir summoning strange red orbs, teleporting around the cavern, and causing necrotic damage. They can see that the shadows of the creature hold an elven figure inside: Hevestro, the archdruid they are seeking.
Orym uses his sword Seedling’s vines to pull Hevestro out of Evithorir’s shadows and Prism uses dimension door to move him to Ashton for protection. A threeway counterspell from Laudna, Evithorir, and Prism stops the creature’s fireball, but after Bor’Dor shoots a high damage lightning bolt, Evithorir succeeds in launching the fiery spell at the group. Laudna gets the last word when her eldritch blasts kill Evithorir.
Hevestro explains that he and his people were preparing for the solstice when Evithorir appeared and slaughtered them, taking Hevestro into darkness. As the keeper of this shrine, Hevestro protects the remains of a guardian spirit – Oma-Dua, a Gau Drashari (the ancestors of the Ashari). As a protector, she bound herself with an eidolon spirit and became one with the land, but drew the attention of Evithorir the Taker, a dark fey entity.
Oma-Dua and Evithorir battled, with Oma-Dua sealing the Taker beneath Cofferfall Hill for centuries. This battle left Oma-Dua with a mortal curse, so she spent her final years teaching her ways to others and installing herself as a natural fane of power for the region within the Emerald Tree. Hevestro has never heard of residuum, but the spire is an amplifier for ritual enchantment, so the two must somehow be connected.
Ashton mishears Hevestro, thinking he said Hishari instead of Gau Drashari. Hevestro, however, knows of the Hishari. About fifty years ago, a charismatic figure named Efterin began traveling from town to town, showing off his skills and giving sermons on the elemental spirits of old. He wanted to restore the primordial powers of the world, an impossible and foolish task.
Efterin and his followers settled in the village of Tumilo, which they renamed Hishari as a tribute to the druids of Exandria – though this annoyed the actual Ashari. The Hishari attempted to channel a powerful source of elemental magic, an artifact that was the centerpiece of their cult. They could not control it, with no understanding of what it was. The village was destroyed, along with many of its people.
Hishari, which lies on the edge of the Utesspire Mountains, is now considered a cursed site and the tale is passed down as a warning to not meddle in power one doesn’t understand. Elder Joan Abaddina is a surviving member of the Hishari who came to see the fault in their ways. Hevestro was once her mentor. Abaddina was curious about Ashton and they worry if she could become re-radicalized now. She did talk about the return of the Primordials.
While it is true that the world did belong to the Primordials first, Hevestro says that the conflict between the Primordials and the gods proved that power should not be focused within only a handful of individuals. With the destruction of the Primordials and the dispersal of the gods, the lands were left to lead themselves. The land, the eidolons, and the druids thrived.
Hevestro asks them what occurred during the Apogee Solstice and the group explains what they experienced. This is likely what released Evithorir’s imprisonment. Hevestro can transport them to Wildemount, Marquet, and Tal’Dorei, but he needs a night of recovery. He invites them to stay tonight. In another room, they find the bodies of his followers. Hevestro excuses himself to mourn and tend to their rest.
The others build a fire while Deni$e confronts Bor’Dor. She still feels like he’s lying to them. Bor’Dor says he doesn’t have a brother, that he was scared and wanted to make them like him with an endearing story of a sick brother. He rambles a bit about being a sheepherder, a leatherworker, never knowing his mother… until he stands with purpose.
THE LIFE OF BOR’DOR DOGSON
Bor’Dor explains that he grew up on the Menagerie Coast, not far from Port Damali. His mother, Livandra, was blessed by the Wildmother and she taught her son her ways in secret. They lived away from the city as leatherworkers. One day, young Bor’Dor went to town and was forced to fight by a group of rich kids. Bor’Dor couldn’t control his powers and accidentally cast inflict wounds, nearly killing one child.
Livandra knew that the people would not allow her son to live, so she took responsibility for the attack. Her strong faith in the gods made her sure that they would take care of her. Though Livandra accepted her fate, Bor’Dor’s father and brother did not. They fought for her freedom against an army, not standing a chance. Bor’Dor watched his mother’s faith shatter as the gods let her and her family down.
Bor’Dor’s mother gave him her dagger and told him to run. He watched Livandra set off a vitriolic sphere on herself and the guards. Bor’Dor fled to the Cyrios Mountains, where he developed a reputation as a thief, using his magic to steal and trick in order to live. He found a community where he was asked if he believed in the gods and if what the gods do is good; he did not. This community of people was the Ruby Vanguard.
THE DEATH OF BOR’DOR DOGSON
Bor’Dor drops his disguise, revealing the same man but far more weathered and pained. He casts a vitriolic sphere into the refracting crystal he left on the ground, hitting everyone with acid damage and knocking Prism unconscious. He yells out that he saw them kill his friends in Marquet and tries to flee. Orym heals Prism with a potion while Ashton and Deni$e grapple him to the ground. Bor’Dor attempts to polymorph into a hummingbird, but Laudna counterspells it.
Bor’Dor weeps, telling them to get it over with. They don’t want to kill him, but Laudna has been in a bad place. She takes on her form of dread and goes to Bor’Dor, the purple hue of Delilah’s necromantic magic emanating from her body for the first time in weeks. Laudna apologizes to Bor’Dor, but she cannot stand having anyone else betray her. She casts hunger of the shadow, knocking him unconscious. In the back of her mind, Laudna hears a heartbeat.
Though Deni$e wants to talk to Bor’Dor and get information about Ludinus, Prism punches him, angered that the time she and Bor’Dor spent learning together was a lie. Ashton gently pulls Prism away, not wanting her to see what happens. Orym nods at Laudna, quiet encouragement. The trauma of Laudna’s life and her lack of control hit her full force. Now she has control and she gives into darkness. Laudna casts wither and bloom, killing Bor’Dor.
Ashton comforts Laudna and tells her that she isn’t weak, just hurt. She sobs in their embrace. Orym declares them at war and tosses the locket from the Exalted he killed at the Malleus Key onto Bor’Dor’s body. Deni$e finds Livandra’s poison dagger, as well as Bor’Dor’s cloak of protection, hat of disguise, and immovable rod. She buries his ashes, as well as the dagger and a sketch of young Bor’Dor and his family, placing a rock on the grave.
Prism feels guilty for punching Bor’Dor and wishes she’d been smarter. She stomps on his grave, yelling and apologizing. Prism talks to Laudna, who is afraid she betrayed her friends by re-opening the door to Delilah that they closed. Prism thinks Laudna can close that door again. Laudna declares that control is a fallacy. She lost control of herself for brief empowerment.
Orym, meanwhile, is meditating on the complications of everything. He is struggling, but he will bring down those who took love from him in the name of their ideology, even if he dies trying. Hevestro returns and apologizes for the loss and what brought them here, but they are capable and the eidolons trust them. He tells them to take strength in that and their memories.
WHERE TO NOW?
In the morning, Ashton gets permission from Hevestro to take one of the refracting crystals. Prism explains to Ashton and Dynios that she doesn’t want to return to the Cobalt Soul. Since no one knows she isn’t actually a library agent, she could use that to gain access to books and information. Ashton encourages her to be herself, a criminal nerd, but warns her that most adventures end the way they did last night.
Ashton suggests Prism go to Whitestone and steal from the lord’s library there, while Deni$e suggests Kymal. Deni$e, however, is going to find her man. Prism scries on Dariax, finding him alone in a tavern in Westruun, Tal’Dorei. Orym attempts to use the sending stone to talk to Dorian, but it fails again. Deni$e shows Orym a wanted poster with the Crown Keepers on it, including Dorian. Orym asks for the poster, which she gives him.
Deni$e presents Bor’Dor’s things – Laudna takes his slingshot, Ashton takes the rod, Prism takes the hat of disguise. They’re all grateful to have met each other. Hevestro leads them down a hidden path to a copse, where he opens a tree to Westruun. Deni$e runs through, with Prism grabbing a piece of her hair for scrying later. Prism, using Laudna’s ring from Imogen, scries on the other half of Bells Hells, who are sitting in a tavern in Jrusar.
Prism takes a ring from Ashton and hair from Orym and Laudna for scrying. The tree opens on a garden in Jrusar and Prism uses Mother as a hang-glider to fly through as they all move through the tree. The door closes and Hevestro comments that everything is changing. As for Bor’Dor, he is at peace and reunited with his family. He rests in this mountain, away from the gods and watched over by guardian spirits.
That is it for Episode 63 of Critical Role!
- Holy shit, that Bor’Dor reveal. Absolutely incredible job, Utkarsh! The ramifications of that are going to be felt for a long time.
- How amazing were these guests! Aimee Carrero and Utkarsh Ambudkar, fantastic job!
- Lots of backstory information on the Hishari AND it’s possible that Delilah is back! The past will not be ignored!
- Reunion closing in! Hopefully soon our Bells Hells will be back together again!
Catch Episode 64 on Thursday, July 6th at 7pm Pacific on twitch.tv/criticalrole and on youtube.com/criticalrole or a week later on our podcast. Is it Thursday yet?